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    Trauma Center: Second Opinion for Nintendo Wii


    If you have the good fortune to own a DS and a copy of this game's quirky predecessor, then you know just how fun performing surgery on a patient can be. That's right, for those of you who didn't know, thanks to Nintendo and Atlus, you get to slice people up in Trauma Center Second Opinion.

    The game's story follows a young doctor fresh from his internship and residency, eager to prove himself more than capable as a surgeon. In the beginning, he is rather inept and unprofessional. The nurse that starts off the game showing you how to use the controls worries when she has to leave him. As the story progresses, you learn about the mysterious "healing touch" and find that time slows down for him at critical moments as if by magic. With a cast of heavy-handed mentors, worrying nurses, and even a second playable doctor from Japan learning in America, Trauma Center's second story won't fail to deliver some fun with promises to go down a lot smoother than hospital food. To prove it, I'm giving the story a solid 7.

    As good as the story may be for this game, it would be nothing without the truly innovative control scheme. Taking advantage of the Wii's truly revolutionaly controller, Trauma Center can offer surprisingly realistic options. The remote, when pointed at the screen becomes forceps (with the use of both the A button and B trigger), a scalpel, a syringe, antibiotic gel, even an ultrasound machine. Selecting between these untensils is the job of the nunchuk's analog stick. Each option is a seperate direction, making it rather simple to switch from one vitally important tool to another without a slow menu system. Also, when a patient flatlines (sometimes inevitable, no matter how hard you try), both controllers held out toward the screen become defribulator paddles, delivering a life-saving jolt when both the Z and B triggers are pulled at the right moment. This sort of unique and realistic gameplay is only available from either the Nintendo DS or Nintendo Wii. This kind of innovation deserves at least a 9.

    Again, this is a Wii game, so graphics aren't expected to be very strong. Even given the system's limited performance in the graphics department, this game's look is very different. The characters don't exactly move in any 3-D environment during cut scenes, but this actually seems to be part of an artistic look for the game. It actually reads a lot like a manga. Without voice-overs, your imagination has a lot of control over how the game feels. Once you begin an operation, everything is realistic enough to be entertaining but thankfully animated enough that you don't lose lunch staring at open wounds on patients. Even so, the game should have had more in the way of cut scenes, and could easily have included better graphics for them. 6 out of 10.

    A good surgeon needs concentration, and Trauma Center should be commended for not throwing in a really annoying soundtrack that throws you off. Of course, there are still sounds in the game or else it just wouldn't be a real game. The sounds that are there are very toned down (not that I would have heard any music anyway, I was saving lives afterall). Each tool you use has a distinctive sound. The antibiotic gel you use squishes out onto the patient, and the laser makes, well, laser sounds. None of the sounds are gimmicky, though. And simple as that sounds, it would have been easy to accidentally put in one over-the-top sound that would ruin the whole game. Nothing stunning here, but still enough for a solid 7.

    Overall, Trauma Center: Second Opinion is a very good game and sadly overlooked. It is certainly a quirky game that makes full use of the Wii's revolutionary controller. I rate it a very fun 8, in the hopes that it won't keep getting lost in the shuffle for too long. At least rent it, you might be surprised by how fun it really is.

    Written by MT


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